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The Austrian Adventure: Day 5

Yes! I did say I would post the rest of this. XD

Day Five

Today's outing was to Swarovski Kristallwelten and the city of Innsbruck. The Swarovski place was erected in 2005 to celebrate the 100th birthday of the firm. It was only supposed to be a temporary exhibition but became permanent due to its popularity. I don't really know what I expected, but it turned out to be like some giant modern art exhibition – very weird. Also I loathe modern art with a passion, so it wasn't my most favourite place of the holiday. However, there was an very shiny set of tack decorated with Swarovski crystal that had been made for a maharaja's favourite horse to wear on ceremonial occasions. Not sure I'd have wanted to sit on the saddle for any length of time, but the whole set was pretty bling and would have looked awesome on Pepsi (Jen pointed out that the whole set probably weighed more than my pony does). Also, the entrance to the exhibition hall had been made to look like a green giant with crystal eyes and a waterfall coming out of his mouth. I liked that bit too. Oh! And standing inside a crystal version of Cerebro! Bahahahaha /geek.

Innsbruck was huge, but luckily we had something like three hours to explore it. There were many many horse-drawn carriages. Hee. One was pulled by a Noriker horse, and another by a Halflinger. Yay native breed spotting! Innsbruck won.

Jen wanted to see the famous Golden Roof, so we wandered around aimlessly for a bit before having the bright idea to climb up the City Tower which gave us a panoramic view of the city. I'm not sure how old the Tower is as my German is not so good and I was too much of a cheapskate to pay €3 for a tour guide, but from what I could figure out I believe it was 15th century. It had a lot of arrow slits and the door out onto the balcony at the top was so tiny that even I had to crouch down to get through.

From the Tower, we realised the reason we hadn't seen the Golden Roof was because it was covered up by sheets and plywood. Apparently it was under renovation. Bad times...

We didn't have anywhere else we particularly wanted to see apart from the Maria-Theresien Strasse (which, from what I could tell, seemed to be Innsbruck's answer to Oxford Street), so we went back to wandering aimlessly and found ourselves on the other side of the River Inn, where I spied a distant church spire. Turns out that when Jen says “that looks like a long way away”, she's probably right. But we made it, and it was beautiful, and there were CLOISTERS. YAY. I like me some cloisters. We didn't go inside the church because the doors were shut, but as we later tried the doors on the Spitalkirche and found them unlocked, I kinda wished we'd tried with the first church ... because it was stunning, and it looked very old, and I'd have liked to have seen inside.

The Spitalkirche was on the Maria-Theresien Strasse and, from the outside, looked fairly unappealing. Inside was much better; it lacked the usual gold and baroque decoration, but retained an impressive altar and gorgeous frescos on the ceiling. Most interesting of all however was another smaller altar round the corner, set into its own niche with a (black) wrought iron gate separating it from the pews. It was coloured black and white, but mostly black – not a colour I've seen used to that extent before in a church. In the bottom was a glass window and behind it was a skull and some bones. Religious relic, perhaps? In the wall to the left of the altar was another windowed niche, and in that was a fabric skeleton dressed in an incredibly ornate – and very, very old – ceremonial costume. The cloth was dull and looked like it would crumble to dust if it was ever touched. Another relic? Who knows. It was kinda weird.

After dinner, during which there was drama (that morning Jen and I had been a few minutes late to breakfast, and an elderly couple from our tour were sat at our usual table. We just sat elsewhere. That evening, as Jen went to sit in our usual place, the couple arrived at the same time and got narky with her as they were under the impression that they always sat there. Jen won. God damn old people), I went for an evening hike. By my onesy, because Jen was taking a bath as she was STINKY AHAHAHAHA. So I took the trail we did last night, and explored further into the goblin forest.

Omg it was so awesome. It was a narrow trail and, because the trees were so thick, it was pretty dark too; the higher I got the narrower the path became. It was also strewn with rocks, with the uphill side rising sharply and the downhill side becoming an almost sheer drop. At one point I saw a cave in the rock, but I was too much of a pussy to climb up and explore it on my own. It might have had a bear in it. Or a troll.

I eventually turned back after getting half way up the freakin' mountainside and receiving, for my reward, an epic view of the village waaaaayyyy below. I could have gone further but I figured it would be dark within half an hour, and as the trail was so narrow and the chances of tripping and falling to a horrible messy death were so great, I was sensible and went back. I know, right! I made a decision that WASN'T retarded and detrimental to my health! Because a solitary female walking up a deserted mountain path in thick forest in a foreign country during the arse-end of the evening wasn't a stupid decision at all.

The Swarovski crystal museum.

Jen being hilarious with her photo-taking...

The shiny pony bling.

Me and Jen in CRYSTAL CEREBRO. \m/

Crazy crystal dragon.

The Noriker horse in Innsbruck, his owner well and truly making up for any enthusiasm her steed may lack...

Innsbruck, as seen from the tower.

The River Inn.

The church I was determined to find.

So, whenever Jen and I go drinking, Hoegaarden is usually our drink of choice. SO IMAGINE OUR JOY WHEN WE FOUND IT BEING SERVED IN AN INNSBRUCK PUB.

We ate these. They were called Farmer Burgers. Made of 100% farmer!

The Maria-Theresien Strasse.

The Spitalkirche.

The curious altar...

The tower we climbed up.


And some photos from my lone walk through the Goblin Forest...

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